Much of FedEx’s data comes from sensors, including a new SensaWare service that involves placing active sensors inside boxes containing high-value merchandise. Rather than wait to be scanned, these sensors actively send out telemetry data covering everything from the package’s traveling speed to whether any light has penetrated its packaging (the latter would suggest some sort of issue has occurred).
Longer term, Carter expects to make all that data more readily available via application programming interfaces (APIs) that would allow customers to apply their own analytics applications against the data. Within FedEx, the company’s applications are all connected to a common message bus that allows applications to publish and subscribe to any source of relevant data.
Those capabilities will prove critical as modern enterprise applications evolve to broker data between services. In fact, it’s a core capability embedded in Windows 8. “This is one reason we’re actually excited about a new Windows platform in a very long time,” Carter said. Because the operating system now manages the brokering between sources of data, the complexity of building composite applications that access multiple data should be significantly reduced."